The Niger State Police Command on Sunday confirmed that over 5,000 criminals across the 25 Local Government Areas of the state have publicly renounced their activities.
The Police Public Relation Officer, PPRO, DSP Bala Elkana, confirmed the report to the Sun, calling the ‘repentant’ criminals “born again criminals.”
Among the suspected criminals who voluntarily renounced their activities in the Rijau area of the state was one Mallam Yahaya Shanjijiri.
The 75-year-old man and his 14 children were among the ‘born again’ criminals.
Shanjijiri is said to be one of the most notorious criminals in the state.
In his confession before the Divisional Police Officer, DPO, in charge of Rijau, head of vigilance group and other security agencies, the father of 14 said he has been a kingpin for over 30 years, adding that he had stopped going out for operation eight years ago due to age but was providing his children intelligence and training.
He said, “I began my criminal act when I was barely 10.
“I started stealing within neighborhood and gradually grew to stealing goats and cattle before engaging in a full blown robbery.
“I have been arrested and sent to prison 11 times but regained my freedom.
“My area of operation includes Niger, Kebbi and Sokoto states.
“I have carried out over 300 operations, an average of three operations in a month.
“I and members of my gang which included my children used to make between N2m to N3m in every successful operation and the proceeds were shared into four places because we would settle the security, we would keep some for court cases; we also settled our herbalist who prepared charms for our us.
“The remaining proceeds we used to take care of ourselves.
“We were responsible for a number of high profile robbery, kidnapping and cattle rustling in Niger, Kebbi and Sokoto states. We never killed any victim in our operations,” he stated.
Speaking further, Shanjijiri said nobody forced them into repentance.
He said, “I want God and all those we have robbed in the past to forgive us as we will never contemplate doing such in this life.
“I want to make it clear that nobody forced or threatened us to take this step of repentance.
“We did it of our own volition because it doesn’t pay.”
In his remark, the chairman of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, in Rijau, said the repentance by the criminals was a welcome development.
According to him, people of Niger, Kebbi and Sokoto could now sleep with both eyes closed.
“This is a welcome development to our people as it would reduce the menace of stealing, armed robbery and kidnapping of innocent people for ransom”, he stated.
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